Shit Our Cats Do: Competitive Fruitball

I'm such a good kitty, look at me!

The other day I stepped on a kiwi, in my living room. It was great. Luckily for me, the kiwi wasn’t all that soft and I realized something wasn’t quite right when my foot was only halfway down, so the mess wasn’t terrible.

This is Lía’s new pastime: she recently discovered how fun it is to hang out on our table, where we keep the fruit bowl. And, oh, all those little, round, bouncy fruits make such perfect toys (bananas aren’t that great).

At least we know she’s smarter than Ralph.

What should we do? There are countless methods we could use to stop her from playing on the dining room table: we could blow on her face, spray her with water, make a loud noise or use some cat repellent spray. Or, we could keep our fruit elsewhere.

Today I found a grape smushed under my bed.

A Day Trip to Utrecht

If you find yourself in the Netherlands, Utrecht is a lovely town to spend a cold winter Saturday, which is exactly what I did a few weeks ago.

This old old city is the fourth largest in the country and, with a population of just over 300,000, it’s the perfect size to walk around in a day and go back home feeling like you got to know it a little bit.

Start the day with a stroll around the beautifully preserved old town and get lost in its narrow streets. Make your way to the Domplein (literally, the cathedral square) and enjoy a traditional pea soup and a sandwich while looking at the square through the huge windows of the Brasserie Domplein.
Although the cathedral itself is nothing spectacular, its gardens are definitely worth a visit.

How about a walk along the canal in the afternoon? Head back to Oudegracht, where you will also find a variety of shops and cafés to keep you entertained and caffeinated.
Too cold to be outside for too long? Warm up browsing books at Boekhandel De Slegte‘s several floors.

Before you head back home, make a pit-stop at Graaf Floris to savor one of their delicately prepared Irish coffees.

How to get there
My favorite means of transport in the Netherlands is the train. From Amsterdam Centraal, the train ride is about 30 minutes, and around 40 from Den Haag Centraal.

View of the canal from a bridge

Things you can find when you explore Utrecht's old, narrow streets

Lunch

Bikes and canals: proof that you are in the Netherlands

The gardens of the cathedral

Nothing like an Irish coffee to warm up

Where to Find Good Coffee in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (aka LPGC) has a lot of good things to offer, but coffee, unfortunately, is not one of them. In fact, coffee in this city is so bad that they invented the leche y leche. Basically, they add a generous dollop of condensed milk to the coffee to hide its taste and make it drinkable. If you don’t mind your coffee being extra sweet, a safe bet would be to order this if you’re unsure of the quality of the coffee.

Cortado leche y leche

Luckily for coffee snobs connoisseurs like myself, more and more places are now serving Italian coffee. Look for the Illy or Lavazza signs and you’ll probably be fine.

My favorite places

- Cocó: go for a walk around the charming neighborhood of Triana and stop here for the best coffee in town. Try their homemade cakes and cookies or, if you feel like something savory, go for one of their many yummy sandwiches. They also serve lunch.

- Plantaciones de origen: a great selection of bulk coffees and teas, definitely the best place to buy your ground coffee.

- Café y más: if you decide to spend the day on the beautiful beach of Las Canteras and you are looking for some good coffee, it’s worth leaving the touristy waterfront and walking a couple of blocks inland to get your caffeine fix.

Order it like a local

You might be looking for Italian coffee, but you’ll still have to order it in Spanish.

Un café solo: an espresso.

Un café cortado or un cortado: an espresso with a little bit of milk, the closest thing might be an espresso machiatto.

Un café con leche: similar to an Italian capuccino or a French café au lait.

Un cortado leche y leche: what you want to order if you find yourself at a place that serves Canarian coffee. It’s a cortado floating on condensed milk.

Un café con leche y leche: a safe bet with more milk than the previous one.

Un americano: if espresso-like coffee is too strong for you, you can order this one; it’s basically an espresso ruined by adding hot water, but if that’s how you like it…

One last tip: if a place serves Café Sol, avoid it at all costs.